December 5, 2016
Thanjavur: The uphill task of digitising the Modi documents by the Tamil University here has run into rough weather after exceeding the project cost.
Under this project, funded by the Rajya Maratha Vikas Sanstha, Mumbai, 863 bundles of Maratha raj records – handmade papers and written in Modi scripts – were to be digitised and published in English and then in Tamil. The project which began in 2013 was expected to be completed in five years.
The Maratha raj records, known as the Thanjai Maratha Modi documents, were shifted to the Thanjavur Palace from the Saraswati Mahal Library following a resolution passed at the Indian Historical Records Commission (IHRC) held at Indore in 1946. In 1950, they were shifted to the Tamil Nadu state archives. Some of the documents are now being preserved at the Saraswati Mahal Library after being microfilmed with the aid of the Maharashtra government. Based on these records, Tamil University has published two books namely `Political and social life of Thanjai Marathas’ and `History of Thanjai Maratha Kings.’
The Modi records found in Madras state archives and Ramanathapuram, Madurai, Tiruchy, Coimbatore and Cuddalore were brought to Tamil University; there are now about 820 bundles of the records constituting about five lakh pages.
The Maharashtra government has so far sanctioned Rs 63 lakh out of the total 80 lakh agreed upon to digitise, decipher and translate and publish as volumes. “Though the records have a total of 5 lakh pages, each page has two frames. This is what the officials failed to take into consideration while preparing the project cost. So, the project cost has now doubled and another Rs 80 lakh is required to complete the project,” Dr G Baskaran, vice-chancellor, Tamil University, said.
“As the project cost escalated, we informed the Mahatrashtra government about it and they have also agreed to allot the additional cost.
The second phase of digitisation will begin soon after the funds are allotted”, Dr Baskaran said.